UPS drone delivery testing kicked off on Monday with a successful package delivery alongside a human driver. In 2018 the FAA chose UPS to sit on its drone advisory committee.
UPS Drone Delivery
On Monday, UPS tested a Workhorse HorseFly UAV Delivery drone that launches from the top of a UPS package car. It delivered a package to a home by itself then returned to the vehicle while the driver continued on to make a separate delivery. Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, spoke of the test:
This test is different than anything we’ve done with drones so far. It has implications for future deliveries, especially in rural locations where our package cars often have to travel miles to make a single delivery. Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road. Sending a drone from a package car to make just one of those deliveries can reduce costly miles driven. This is a big step toward bolstering efficiency in our network and reducing our emissions at the same time.
There are no plans to replace drivers with drones or autonomous vehicles, however. Drones will be used to aid the driver and save time. If UPS can make a reduction of one mile per driver per day over a year, it can potentially save up to US$50 million.